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Global Sea-Level Rise

  • By: Roland Gehrels
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Global sea level (i.e., the mean sea level averaged across the globe) has risen by 1.6 ± 0.2 mm/yr. (millimeters per year) in the period 1961 to 2003 and by a similar amount (1.7 ± 0.3 mm/yr.) when calculated over the entire 20th century. These rates are based on tide gauge measurements and, since the early 1990s, also on satellite altimetry. Satellite measurements have shown that global sea-level rise has not been uniform, either in time or in space.

The average global sea-level curve shows distinct temporal fluctuations. In the 1920s and 1930s, sea-level rise speeded up, while in the 1960s, sea-level rise slowed down. Since the 1970s, the maximum decadal rate of sea-level rise has increased from about 3 mm/yr. to more than 5 mm/yr. ...

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